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No Change!!

Having resided in Bangladesh for eleven months, I went to my home-country, Nepal. There was happiness and urgency in me to see hills and mountains, to visit temples and shrines, and to feel the air. I saw and felt all those things, but my perspectives of seeing things have changed. Everything is the same as it was in the past, and that makes me want some changes because I am changed, and now I can see the possibilities of positive changes inside the beauty of my country.

The mountains and air gave me the feeling of my belonging to this place; still I was not satisfied. The mountains smiled at me. The air whispered, “Welcome back, dear!” and I replied back to it, “…but I don’t want to wear this mask; I want to feel the real air of Nepal, not this polluted one.” I really want to feel the cool air through each pores of my skin; and I don’t want the pores to be blocked by dust particles. Similarly, when I switch on the light, I want the light-rays to spread all over the room but not to realize that there is load shedding - sometimes 16 hours a day! Moreover, I don’t want to spend my time waiting for a local bus and passing through a tedious traffic jam.

My second day after the arrival in Nepal began with the visit to the Pashupatinath temple, one of the biggest Hindu temples of Lord Shiva in the world. It was Monday of Shrawan (the fourth month of the Hindu calendar), and most of the Nepalese women had fastings in order to get their desires fulfilled (some unmarried women fast to get good husbands). It was a kind of bad luck for me because there were thousands and thousands of devotees standing in lines to only see the God Shiva because it is somewhat impossible to worship in the Pashupatinath on Mondays of Shrawan. I would have returned back home if I had gone alone because I had seen no possibility of entering the temple even within 2 hours, but my fasting mother and aunt had this obstinate decision that they would not return back until they entered the temple. We then lined up in the shortest of the four lines for two and half an hour. Usually whoever steps to this temple feels pure and blessed by God, and I reckon my mother and aunt had the same feeling. However, from whatever I saw during standing in the line gave me a bitter feeling. The children searching money inside the river and the women being unconscious during standing in the line made me feel bad.

I could not find peace inside me after going to the temple. I could not concentrate on praying after seeing the children swimming in the river near the temples to find some money inside it. It is indeed so strange that children who are meant to be going to school are spending their time to find some money. But the way they were ‘coining’ (lets say, coining is finding money in the river as to fishing is catching fish) was impressive. I saw three small boys throwing ropes with some magnets tied to the one end of it; then the coins would be attached to the magnets. These are the coins which are offered to the God as ‘veti’ while worshipping the God. Similarly, when some women started to get unconscious because of standing with a hungry stomach for a long time in the intense heat of sunlight, some questions started to hit my head – “Is fasting good? How can fasts give better husbands or better lives? Why are almost all of the devotee women? Do not men need to be fasting for the better lives of their wives?” I could not get the answers, and I did not have any idea of where to find the answers, so I was not in harmony.

I love my country even more after residing in Bangladesh. The love for Bangladesh can not lessen my love for my birth-place. On the contrary, it enhances my love and respect; and I want my country to be prosperous and happy. It’s true that it is far easier to point out the problems and blame each other for the worse things happened than to find solutions to it, but we should accept that there are some places where we are lacking and where we can improve in order to develop the country. I think that the God will be happier if we offer the coins to the people who desperately need it in spite of offering them to the idols of the God. This way, those children should not waste their time ‘coining’. Most of the Nepalese are religious; and Nepal is culturally rich, but this culture and religion should not let us lag behind. Cultures are made by us, and we have the right to refine them. If the culture is not for the welfare of countries and societies, it should be modified. Similarly, it is the responsibility of each people living in a county to make sure that the place is pollution-free or healthy. We can bring changes in the things which need to be changed for the better welfare of the country, and respect and continue the ones whose existence are worthy in making people’s lives better.

Comments

olutosin's picture

Thoought Provoking!

I was transfixed as I read your journal and could not even stop halfway until i finished reading...you raised a lot of questions that can only be noticed by a discerned mind and I will say if only those who could make the change will have time to read this but you have done one thing for sure....you have reported the under reported...you have become teh vocies of those women who were in line with empty stomach praying for a drinking husband somewhere or one who would not even value their existence...while some men will value them too. Some times I think that religion is one of the measures taken by patriarchal culture to tie women and make them gullible, just the way they want it.....

Again you have raised the vices of these children who were supposed to be in schools but were waiting for GODOT! You have painted the picture of these children who were so hungry but depended on money given to temple masters to buy their way to heaven or God;s heart, that is how we refer to these ones in my village.
Dear this is why we are here...this is why we are reporting global issues through the eyes of women.....do you see now that you are different, enlightened and free...it is emancipation.....that is why your thought was different form everybody's thoughts....not you are more than a woman or less but you have seen the light, you can now see that the positive changes everywhere is not a taboo in Nepal and should not be a taboo in Nepal! and in every developing countries......
Thank you so much for this post, for telling the world that this is how it is in your land...
You will feel lighter by pouring this out!

Olutosin Oladosu Adebowale
Founder/Project Coordinator
Star of Hope Transformation Centre
512 Road
F Close
Festac Town
Lagos-Nigeria

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